The realisation that we’ve walked the whole length of both North and South Tyne rivers only registered with me the following morning, when I spied the J.B.Jonas book on my bedside table. What an achievement ! Reflecting on the feat of putting one foot in front of the other for 163 miles, it struck me that we had generally enjoyed good weather, seen lots of interesting buildings and environments, and loved the chat and the company over the many months that the journeys had taken us.
It was another super winter morning when two cars headed off to Tyne Green Park in Hexham, and then on for the start of the walk at Chollerford. We avoided the Riverside Tea Rooms on this occasion, and, having crossed the road bridge over the North Tyne, walked up the hill towards Brunton House. At the crossroads, we were able to access the Hadrian’s Wall footpath as it wound its way through the roadside woodland. One man from a group of ‘Health Walkers’ from Corbridge kindly took our photo beside a stretch of the Wall, before we turned south up a steep incline to Crag House, and thence through some paddocks inhabited by alpacas.
Rather than follow the minor road, we turned off eastwards and walked along a well-marked (by dead moles !) track through grass fields towards the tree lined Codlaw Dene. Passing through the caravan park, we then followed a muddy track past some gorse covered mounds through a rape crop to emerge near a very attractive house. Discovering a sheltered spot (near a stream !) overlooking the Tyne valley, we stopped to eat lunch – well, the assorted mix of cattle in the adjacent field were also munching away and it was after 1 pm ! The house nearby had an unusually large old chimney as part of the structure – a query for John Grundy perhaps ?
Having feasted well, we continued towards the road, but turned off south again towards Acomb village, climbing a ladder stile into a grass field before the road was reached. We dropped down to cross Red Burn on a very substantial footbridge and then on into Acomb, passing the Methodist Chapel, before heading off eastwards towards Broom Park and the river North Tyne. We passed under an old railway bridge and finally came to the confluence of the two Tynes. We had arrived ! We shared the moment of our triumph with a local gentleman, who kindly took a photo of us for posterity.
Intending to follow the riverside path back to the A69, we were unsure whether the dire warning notice of ‘NO PATH DUE TO EROSION’ was still valid – the notice itself looking somewhat aged, but our local guide suggested that the old railway track would take us to Old Bridge End farm equally well, and so we followed his advice. The track (permissive perhaps, rather than an official right of way) proved more than adequate, and, after viewing the original pilings of the former railway bridge, we emerged near the Birkey Burn and the main road.
Surprisingly little traffic at that moment meant that we crossed safely to follow what must have been the original A69 as it ran parallel to the new dual carriageway. We crossed this main artery and continued past the grounds of The Hermitage, an 18th century, grade II* listed country house, which formerly belonged to the priory of Hexham. It is set in about 18 acres of grounds including attractive parkland and River Tyne frontage, and was probably the favourite anchorage of St John of Beverley, to whom is dedicated the local church at St. John Lee, up on the hill nearby. What puzzled us were the white painted stones running along the top of the boundary wall almost to Rotary Way !
Footloose then met up with most of our spouses plus Brian and Joyce for a celebratory coffee and cake event, to mark the successful achievement of walking the length of both River Tynes, and then we all departed homewards, having enjoyed another wonderful day’s walking and talking. A good way to celebrate Robin’s birthday as well.
Now whither shall we roam ? The wind blows and there we go, like a feather floatin’ along on that gentle breeze without a care in the world … ‘A Hidebound Journal’ 2013 from OTW – http://transformativeworks.org/about